This week the Illinois State Library spotlights the Waukegan Public Library.
Learning to speak English can be challenging for families. One mother visited the Waukegan Public Library Family Literacy Program to learn English along with her preschool-aged daughter. The woman had an older daughter who lacked English skills when she began kindergarten and subsequently became frustrated and withdrawn. After attending bilingual classes throughout school, the older daughter achieved English proficiency and excelled academically. She refused to speak to her mother in English however, because her mother was slow to understand. The mother wanted her preschooler to start school with better English skills.
The mother also faced limitations due to her lack of English speaking skills. She was uncomfortable using the telephone and asking questions at her daughter’s school. During their sessions at Waukegan Public Library, the mother and daughter listened intently and followed directions carefully. Gradually, both mom and her youngest daughter have improved their English skills. The mother can read and play games in English with her daughters. With her youngest child beginning kindergarten soon, Mom plans to continue her studies until she is fluent. Her long-term goal is to obtain her GED and begin a career.